Monday Mornings with Madison

Measuring Productivity in the Remote Revolution, Part 2

Word Count: 1,662
Estimated Read Time: 6 min.

Picture this.  Mike’s adorable toddler interrupts his Zoom meeting. David’s doorbell rings twice during a single team call.  Sara’s spouse is having a loud conversation in the background since they both work from home and the sound carries.  Daniel is working bizarre hours, sending emails at 3am.  Ruth’s Internet outages are affecting her ability to work from home and hit deadlines.  And Rachel is taking three 15-minute breaks a day to walk her dog. Meanwhile, the legal department has issued restrictions on what can be said or done in dealing with customers when working from home.  And the compliance department has added an extra layer of directives to ensure the company obeys all of the laws and regulations of the industry. Meanwhile, IT is unable to keep up with the demands for support.  Sounds chaotic?  It is.  Now imagine having to manage such a posse and answer for the team or department’s productivity. Continue reading

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Measuring Productivity in the Remote Revolution, Part 1

Word Count: 1,440
Estimated Read Time: 6 min.

A few weeks ago, Microsoft informed its employees that it will allow more staff to work from home permanently.  Although the vast majority of Microsoft employees are currently working from home due to the pandemic, the company’s new “hybrid workplace” guidance said it would allow far greater workplace flexibility even after their offices reopen.  Microsoft employees will be able to work from home freely for less than 50 percent of their working week.  Or managers can approve permanent remote work. Employees who opt for permanent remote work will give up their assigned office space, but can use Microsoft’s touchdown offices.  Kathleen Hogan, Microsoft’s chief people officer, said “The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged all of us to think, live, and work in new ways.  We will offer as much flexibility as possible to support individual workstyles, while balancing business needs and ensuring we live our culture.” Continue reading

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Having an Attitude of Gratitude Even in Tough Times – Part 2

Word Count: 1,472
Estimated Read Time: 6 min.

 

What Gratitude Does for Your Body and Life

“Thank you” is something that people say casually to the store clerk when they finish bagging groceries, or to the teller who processes a deposit at the bank, or to the barber after a haircut.  It’s an adequate expression of appreciation for a valued but smallish task.  But “Thanks” or “Thank you” might seem inadequate to express gratitude to an employer who hires you after losing your job and benefits during a pandemic, or to a firefighter who saves a child from a burning building, or to a surgeon who performs a life-saving operation.  And the words “thank you” definitely fall short when it comes to expressing gratitude to a parent for a lifetime of love and sacrifice, or a caregiver who tends to an elderly grandparent for years ‘til they pass, or to someone who donates a kidney that saves your child’s life. Continue reading

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Having an Attitude of Gratitude Even in Tough Times – part 1

Word Count: 1,415
Estimated Read Time: 6 min.

What Gratitude Does to Your Brain

Is it possible to get through a single day right now without hearing about at least a dozen calamities, crises and catastrophes?  Having tried it, it seems an impossibility.  The news is disheartening.  Weather disasters abound with fires raging in one place while hurricanes flood others.  An epic public health emergency is unfolding in real time.   The fallout from the pandemic is inflicting serious economic pain on so many.  Businesses are suffering or closing.  Uncertainty abounds in schools.  Lockdowns are imposed and lifted and imposed again.  It can be downright depressing. Continue reading

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Courageous Leadership: Spotting and Developing Potential – Part 2

Word Count: 1,472
Estimated Read Time: 6 min.

When we think of courage, we usually think of political, military, or religious leaders.  People who risked and dared to do what was right in the face of great challenges or personal or professional peril.  For example, we might think of Abraham Lincoln, who led the U.S. through a Civil War and dared to sign the Emancipation Proclamation.  But we don’t usually think of business leaders as being particularly brave or courageous.  And yet they must take risks and make calculated decisions every day with the aim of bringing out the very best in both people and processes.  It takes a certain intrepid, plucky spirit to guide a business, whether it is a scrappy startup or a multi-national conglomerate. Continue reading

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Courageous Leadership: The #1 Skill for Times of Great Change and Turmoil – Part 1

Word Count: 1,589
Estimated Read Time: 6 min.

Courage is the skill that separates and elevates great leaders from a pack of good managers.  And when it comes to leadership in fields such as education, health care, government and especially the military, courage is considered important, but it is seldom at the top of the list of essential skills and is actually thought of more as a personality attribute or quality than a skill.   However, in the world of industry and commerce, few even think of courage as a top business skill.  In fact, most lists of top 10 leadership skills never list courage at all.  In fact, Forbes Coaches Council’s list of top skills cited the following essential business leadership skills: Continue reading

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Staying Positive When Bad Things Happen – Part 2

Word Count: 1,497
Estimated Read Time: 6 min.

Using a Setback as a Springboard to Success

It is probably safe to say that basically no one wants to get fired from a job.  No vendor delights in having a client end a business relationship, and no client enjoys having a service provider say “I don’t want to work with you anymore’.  No attorney wants to lose a case, and no doctor wants to lose a patient.  But those things happen, and they happen even to the most capable professionals.  At best, these situations feel like a slap in the face.  At worst, it is seen as a personal failure or a professional catastrophe.  But, perhaps, it shouldn’t.  Ending a working relationship or losing a client is something that happens to most people at one point or another in their lives, and often it is not a reflection of that person’s value, worth, skills or abilities.  In fact, at times it says more about the person or company doing the ‘ending’ than it does about the person being rejected. Continue reading

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Staying Positive When Bad Things Happen – Part 1

Word Count: 1,411
Estimated Read Time: 6 min.

In tough times, people say to “stay positive”.  But, that may feel impossible, especially when things are really going wrong.  In the face of serious adversity, it is hard to imagine how or when things will get better.  But, that’s when it is most important to press on with the belief that something good – something totally unexpected – is just around the corner.  There are countless examples of people who faced major job losses, harsh criticism and painful setbacks, and still went on to do great things.  Their perseverance, tenacity and positive outlook propelled them from setback to success.  Sometimes it made it possible to find opportunities that might not have otherwise been possible.   In fact, it almost seems like a person must endure a painful but necessary experience to activate their highest and best skills, talents and abilities. Continue reading

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The Value of Plan B

Word Count: 1,440
Estimated Read Time: 6 min.

If Plan A is Awesome, Why Have a Plan B?

Plan B, also known as “The Backup Plan”, is often frowned upon by the business world.  At best, it is seen as a “worst case scenario” Plan; a product generated by uncertainty and fear about the path forward that only the Apprehensive-Aarons of the world will create.  At worst, it’s perceived as a lack of total commitment to and belief in Plan A.  In other words, Plan B is seen as the approach taken by the Debbie-Doubters who feel lukewarm or halfhearted about the business’ vision.   Either way, it is seen as the course of action to take when failure looms… the lifeboat to use when the ship is sinking.  However, it doesn’t need to be. Continue reading

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The Power of Podcasting, Part 4

Word Count: 2,044
Estimated Read Time: 8 min.

Promoting a Podcast Properly

Many companies are deciding to dip a toe in the uber-popular ocean of podcasting.  Perhaps your organization has too.  The groundwork has been done.  Clearly, a lot of work has already gone into getting the podcast off the ground.  It might have taken weeks or months to get to this point.  The desire to publish the first show immediately after recording/editing it will be overwhelming.  Don’t.  That would be a rookie mistake. Continue reading

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